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St. Patrick's Primary School Mullanaskea, Garvary, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh

End of Year Message from Dr O’Neill

24th Jun 2020

Dear Parent,

I want to thank each one of you for the support you have given us at this difficult time.  You have had to take on the role of teacher at home.  This is difficult for us all, especially when our principal role is that of parent.  I think you have done very well and remember we are all in the same boat.  I also want to thank you for your support during the year.  It has been a strange old year but it is what it is.  We have to make the most of it and hope for better days.  As always, your children have been a credit.  

We have missed the children so much; each child is known to us in his/her own special way.  Please tell your children how much we miss them and how we look forward to seeing them all very soon.  Tell them we will have great days again at Mullanaskea.  

To each of the staff, I say a big thank you.  It has been hard for teachers.  No one expected to have to work from home and deliver online learning.  I think they have coped so well and have done an excellent job.  I also want to thank our team of classroom assistants.  As always, they have been wonderful.  I hope that they know what a difference they make to all the children as well as the individual children that they look after.  Often this goes unsaid, but I know that the difference they make is just immense.  

I also want to thank Claire, our executive officer.  She has been a power house keeping everything going and ticking over.  She does it with grace and competence.  To Aidan and Collette, a big thank you.  Again our school building is always a pleasure to be in.  It is pleasant and welcoming.  This is to their credit.

I want to say a special thank you to the team supporting key workers.  They have been brilliant.  They have put themselves forward to support the community and I have to say they have done it with the greatest of humour and spirit.  It is hard to know how, as a schoolwe can support the wider efforts of our society at present, but I hope you feel that we have done a good job. We cannot make the virus disappear but we have tried to support those who have to keep our society functioning.

As a community, we have also lost the lovely Pat Murphy, and Mary Cox, wife of Pat Cox.  Both families have been special to the Mullanaskea family for many years.  They are sadly missed but fondly remembered.  I am also aware that many of the children have lost loved ones this year.  Many have lost precious grandparents. The loss of the grandparents has been very hard on the children.  Over the years, we got to know the grandparents, often better that we did you the parents. We witnessed first-hand how they adored the children and greeted them with the most loving, widest of smiles.  This is just so sad.

Of course, the lovely Colin Wright is no longer with us.  What can I say about Colin?  What would he have made of all this COVID situation?  He certainly would have had a view.  How we miss him!  Selina, Lauren, Conor, Isabella and Josh-  Colin will be forever missed.  I know how sad you all are and how difficult life is without him.  I know how he would have loved to be at the children’s Confirmations and Communions.  He would have soaked in the atmosphere and enjoyed every minute.  Of course, these events have not happened yet, but I know how he would have approached such events, with energy and sincerity.  

It has been a strange, difficult year.

However, as Colin would have done, we have to look forward and be positive.  If he were around he would have been asking me what my plans were for re-opening the school.  

At present, I am making plans for the new school year.  I am formulating plans with the CCMS, Governors and staff.  As soon as I have these plans to re-start the school, I will communicate them immediately to you.  We all want school to re-start but it has to be done safely ensuring the confidence of all.  

For now, I hope you all get some sort of a break to your working lives over the summer and get to spend some time relaxing and with your families.  I will speak to you all soon.

My Love to You All,

Ms. O’Neill.